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J Surg Res. 2013 Mar;180(1):114-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2012.11.013. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Endoscopic vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass grafting: a systematic review with meta-analysis of 27,789 patients.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Heart Center of the University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.



To determine the current strength of evidence for or against endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH) in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).


A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) and observational trials (OT) was performed that reported the impact of EVH on adverse clinical outcomes after CABG. Analyzed postoperative outcomes included wound infection, postoperative pain, myocardial infarction (MI), vein graft failure, length of hospital stay, and mortality. Pooled treatment effects (OR or weighted mean difference (WMD), 95%CI) were assessed using a fixed or random effects model.


A total of 27,789 patients from 43 studies (16 RCT, 27 OT) were identified who underwent saphenectomy by endoscopic (46%; n = 12,822) or conventional technique (54%; n = 14,967). Pooled effect estimates revealed a reduced incidence (P < 0.001) for wound infections (OR 0.27; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.32), pain (WMD -1.26, 95% CI -2.07 to -0.44; P = 0.0026), and length of hospital stay (WMD -0.6 d, 95% CI -1.08 to -0.12; P = 0.0152). EVH was associated to an increase of the odds for vein graft failure (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.88; P = 0.0433), a finding that lost statistical difference after pooled analysis of RCT and studies with high methodological quality. Similarly, graft-related endpoints, including mortality and MI, did not differ between the harvesting techniques.


The present systematic review underscores the safety of EVH in patients undergoing CABG. EVH reduces leg wound infections without increasing the midterm risk for vein graft failure, MI, or mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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